Day 1 report: Sail for Gold

Daily summary: Weymouth and Portland, U.K. (June 4, 2012) – With the first day of racing in the books at Sail for Gold, US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider holds  six top-10 positions across 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes, plus its women’s match racing team stands with two wins and four losses in the beginning flights of the round robin. After a long day of waiting for the wind to reach a suitable speed for racing, organizers kept the fleets out on the water until the early evening hours. Racing continues through June 9 at the venue selected for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Performance highlights include:

Caleb Paine (USA11) leading the fleet. Photo Mick Anderson/US Sailing

In the Finn class, Caleb Paine won the lone Finn class race of the day, besting a fleet of 44 skippers. Fresh off a gold medal at Delta Lloyd Regatta, Paine explained that he won by picking the correct side of the course throughout the long race. Photo Mick Anderson/US Sailing

“It was fairly close after the first weather leg, and the distance (on the fleet) stayed the same on the first reach,” he explained of the moment capturing the race lead.

“It was all in the first downwind. I stayed with all the boats and sailed in the pressure. There was an opportunity for me to either to stay with boats on right, looking downwind, or go to the guys on the left. I jibed over and took the pressure on the left side, and after rounding the mark it was a pretty easy beat by hitting the right side and I just extended.”

Paine has become more comfortable sailing against the top international Finn sailors. “It was a matter of looking at where the pressure was,” he said. “It’s more of being where the wind is. I’m happy I’ve been working on getting all these pieces together.”

For an exclusive audio interview with Paine where he talks about the 2016 Games in Rio:

Before he went sailing, Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), who is in 4th overall, talked about the atmosphere at Sail for Gold, which is down in number of competitors compared to previous years.

Exclusive video with Railey discussing lessons learned from Worlds, training in Weymouth, bringing experience from’08 Games and what it means to be elected Team Captain

“The atmosphere is very different than last year,” said Railey. “The selections have been made for all the classes and we know, pretty much, who is going to the Olympics. For the Finn class, we have all of the representatives who will be at the Olympic Games minus two competitors. It will be a very good test here at the Olympic venue to where we’re at with just under two months to go.”

Exclusive video with Railey discussing lessons learned from Worlds, training in Weymouth, bringing experience from’08 Games and what it means to be elected Team Captain

Women’s 470 duo Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) put in a strong opening day performance and find themselves in 10th overall in the 32-boat fleet. With a 9th and a 14th in the light-wind conditions, they’re poised to continue building their overall series score.

Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl won the Mens’ 470 race 2 after finishing 8th in race 1. With a combined total points score, they hold 5th place overall. Photo Mick Anderson/US Sailing

“We started toward the committee boat end and thought there might be some more pressure on the right hand side,” said McNay. “We went right and got a bit of the gain we were expecting, and were able to cross the fleet when we met again.”

Graham Biehl and Stuart McNay after racing June 4

A strong opener gives the team a boost. “We find that having a good opening round, the first day, let’s you breathe and get those first day jitters out of the way,” said Biehl. “We had a really long day today. We had a first race at 11am and got towed back in between racing and then went back out for race 2, finishing up around 6:30pm.”

The Paralympic class courses were also plagued with light wind, which prevented a full schedule of racing.  The 2.4mR, SKUD-18 and Sonar classes completed one race apiece.

For Jen French and JP Creignou (both St. Petersburg, Fla.), the consistent performance they’ve displayed all year continued in the single SKUD-18 race. They finished in 4th with nine races remaining in the 10-race series.

Before Sail for Gold got underway, Kenneth Andreasen, US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider High Performance Director/Head Coach, discussed the goals for Sail for Gold and what this event means for sailors.

“Having this regatta here is huge for us,” he said. “We’re trying to run this the way we will the Olympics and Paralympics. We have a really good plan in place. For our sailors to come here a few weeks before the Games is a huge opportunity. This regatta is not really a sign of what we’ll see at the Games. There are other factors coming in during the Games. It’s a pressure-filled event. Some sailors will not be able to handle the pressure, such as some sailors not being able to handle the home-field advantage. But our team is well-prepared for the pressure.”

2012 Sail for Gold – Images by US Sailing Team


US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes competing at Sail for Gold and their results, to date:

Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) – women’s match racing, 2 wins and three losses in the round robin
Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) – Women’s 470, 10th
Bob Willis (Chicago, Ill.) – RS:X (Men’s Windsurfer), 47th
Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) – Finn, 1st
Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (Pomfret, Vt./Naples, Fla.) – 49er, 22nd
Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) — RS:X (Women’s Windsurfer), 21st
Jen French and JP Creignou (both St. Petersburg, Fla.) – SKUD-18, 4th
Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.) – 2.4mR, 18th
Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (both Miami, Fla.) – Star, 13th
Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) – Laser Radial, 55th
Paul Callahan (Cape Coral, Fla./Newport R.I.), Tom Brown (Castine, Me.) and Bradley Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.) – Sonar, 8th
Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.) – Laser, 57th
Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) — Men’s 470, 5th
Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) – Finn, 4th

US Sailing Development Team members competing and results, to date:

Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)  – Laser, 19th
Carson Crain (Houston, Texas) – RS:X , 58th
Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.) and Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) – 49er, 29th
Gordon Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.) – Finn, 38th
Greg Martinez (Houston, Texas) – Laser, 53rd
Solvig Sayre (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) – RS:X, did not compete

Click on the photo to go to the photo gallery by Mick Anderson and US Sailing


Editors Notes:

US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider website
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Video interview with 49er crew Trevor Moore
Video interview with Finn sailor Zach Railey
Video interview Kenneth Andreasen
Video interview with Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl

Editorial-free photos available: Please use password “USA” to download

About Sail for Gold Held June 4-9 at the location selected for the Olympic Sailing competition, Sail for Gold is an important milestone event for sailing athletes preparing for the Games. Organizers expect over 700 athletes from 60-plus nations to compete in the fifth stop on the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) World Cup circuit. This will be the last time US Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Team members will have a chance to compete at the venue before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, scheduled for July 29-August 11. The Paralympic Games, scheduled for August 29-Sept. 6, also will be held at the same location.

Full results:

Daily race tracking:

About the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
The US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. US Sailing supports these elite athletes with funding, coaching and training. The title sponsor of the team is Sperry Top-Sider; other sponsors include Rolex Watch USA, Atlantis WeatherGear, LaserPerformance, Harken Team McLube, Bow Down Training, New England Ropes and Trinity Yachts.

Contact: Dana Paxton, US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider Press Officer, +1 401-683-0800, x615,; mobile +1 401-369-0490 (in U.K. May 24-June 10)

This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.Caleb Paine (USA11) leading the fleet. Photo Mick Anderson/US Sailing